Cougars Beat In-State Rival, Evanson Wins All-Around

Logan, Utah (February 6, 2002) -- The BYU women's gymnastics team, led by strong efforts from All-American Kelly Evanson and freshman Jaime Mabray, knocked off Utah State on the road with a season-high score of 195.425. Evanson won the all-around with a score of 39.225, followed closely by Mabray's score of 39.075. Kari Dye, a sophomore who competed in the all-around for the first time in her BYU career, completed the all-around sweep with an impressive score of 38.600.

"It's a very successful beginning of the season," BYU head coach Brad Cattermole said. "It's still really early in the season, but I think we are moving in the right direction."

The gymnasts for both teams took part in a special Olympic torch ceremony before the meet. Utah State's Dee Glen Smith Spectrum was packed as the crowd awaited the scheduled arrival of the flame. The flame arrived late, pushing the start of the meet back even further, but Cattermole and the team didn't mind at all.

"It's something the kids won't forget long after the scores are forgotten," Cattermole said.

The late start and unique ceremony forced the gymnasts to practice in another facility before the meet. The gymnasts were then transported to the arena, but waited for a while for the torch to arrive. The gymnasts were allowed extra warm-up time for each event, taking some gymnasts out of their regular flow.

"It was hard to get any momentum after each event for the girls," Cattermole said. "But I'm happy with the way they performed considering the circumstances."

A career-high of 9.900 on the beam highlighted Evanson's performance, but she also had the meet-high score in vault, with a 9.875. Evanson faltered a bit on the floor, tumbling out of bounds on her second pass. Other than that, she performed her best all-around of the season. Senior Mindi Hilton, competing for only the second time in two years, won the uneven bars with a score of 9.875. Hilton has overcome injuries and surgeries to both her shoulder and wrist to give a spark to the Cougar uneven bars' lineup.

Mabray, who scored a 39.225 at the Cat Classic, backed up her performance with another 39-plus score in the all-around. Lindsay Lines provided solid scoring in bars and beam, while Jeni Lopez scored well in all the events she competed in. The Cougars failed to break 49 points on any event, but came close with a 48.975 on their first event of the night, the uneven bars.

Utah State was unable to keep up with the Cougars' consistency and finished the meet with a 191.925. The Aggies were led by Jessenia Abrego, who scored a 38.175 in the all-around. Dye tied Abrego for first in the floor exercise, scoring a 9.850. The Aggies were forced to count several falls and stumbles in all their events. While BYU didn't break any records, Cattermole is still impressed with how well the team is performing so far on the road.

"It's easy to compete at home," Cattermole said. "Being able to make the adjustments on the road and perform well, that's the mark of a great team."

Several Cougars scored season highs on a variety of events. Co-captains Candace Cosgrave (9.800) and Brooke Craig (9.775) each notched season bests on the floor and beam, respectively. Hilton's bar routine (9.875) was a season high, and just short of her career high of 9.900. Evanson notched season highs in both vault and beam. Freshman Kirsten Pauga, competing in her first collegiate meet, had a great beam routine until she missed a difficult aerial, and scored a 9.050. Dye notched season highs in all but the bars. Senior Angie Hickman rounded out the season highs by scoring a 9.675 on the floor exercise.

BYU has one more meet on the road before it finally comes home to perform in front of the hometown fans. BYU travels to Cedar City to take on Southern Utah on Feb. 15. The Cougars will meet the Aggies again Feb. 22 at home. BYU will host both Utah State and Boise State on that night, and the Cougars hope to knock off the Aggies for the third time in a row, dating back to last season.

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